Sperm viability, serological, molecular, and modified seminal plasma agglutination tests in the diagnosis of Leptospira in the semen and serum of bovine bulls


The present study investigated the serum microscopic agglutination test (MAT) among 203 bovine bulls with reproduction by natural means, without apparent signs of orchitis or inflammation of accessory reproductive glands. Simultaneously, the semen of all bulls was subjected to sperm viability analysis and PCR based on the 16S rRNA gene. PCR-positive results of semen samples were confirmed by sequencing. A modified seminal plasma agglutination (MSPA) test, replacing the blood serum of all bulls in the MAT with seminal plasma was performed as well. Eight (8/203 = 3.9%) semen samples from bulls were considered nonviable (necrospermia and azoospermia) without relation to the PCR diagnosis. No agglutinin titers were identified in MSPA test. A high frequency (132/203 = 65%) of leptospiral agglutinin titers was identified in the MAT, particularly for the Sejroe serogroup (Hardjo CTG, 100/203 = 49.3%; Wolffi 74/203 = 36.4%; Guaricura 72/203 = 35.5%; and Hardjoprajitno 56/203 = 27.6%). Three (3/203 = 1.5%) semen samples of bulls were positive in the PCR, but these results were not confirmed by sequencing. The high frequency of serovars from the Sejroe serogroup typically adapted to bovines indicates the need for measures for the prophylaxis/control of the pathogen on the sampled farms. Discrepancies among the MAT, sperm viability, and molecular detection of leptospires in semen highlight the need for a combination of methods to diagnose leptospirosis in bovine bulls. To our knowledge, modified seminal plasma agglutination is described for the first time here to investigate anti-Leptospira antibodies produced locally in the genital tract in the diagnosis of bovine leptospirosis among bulls that reproduce by natural means.



Bull leptospirosis, Molecular diagnosis, Reproduction by natural means, Seroprevalence

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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology.